Even when you have the skills and experience required for all kinds of permanent positions, it’s not always easy to find available jobs. Whether you were recently laid off from a closing firm or are in the process of changing careers, you might find that a temporary job placement is your only real opportunity for employment at a given time. It’s become incredibly common for Americans to pursue contract and temp jobs, as they’re often plentiful and provide a chance to sharpen one’s skills and bring home a paycheck. But some people wonder whether having temp positions on their resume will hurt them in the long run.
Consider this: since the recession ended in 2009, temp jobs have comprised nearly 19% of all new positions in the United States. More than 3 million temporary and contract employees work for American temp agencies in an average week. Not only does that mean you’re in great company, but it also means employers have embraced temp workers like never before. In fact, a CareerBuilder study found that around 40% of employers expected to take on contract or temporary workers in 2015. While there are certainly permanent employment opportunities to be found, the availability of temporary positions allows capable Americans to find work on a regular basis — even if it’s not always with the same company.
Another important point to consider is that working with a temp agency on a regular basis means you have gainful employment. Even if these aren’t temporary to permanent jobs, having this work experience on your resume shows employers that you’ve been out in the workforce and building on your skill set. That’s far more impressive than being unemployed for a long period of time. It shows that you’re a go-getter who’s making valuable connections and who has what it takes to roll with the punches. Those are highly attractive qualities in any candidate.
Keep in mind, too, that working with a temp agency for a substantial period might not have as much of a stigma as you’d think. According to a recent poll from OfficeTeam, around 51% of hiring managers view a “long period of consistent temporary assignments” as being “comparable to full-time employment.” Remember that taking on a string of temp jobs is not going to make others view you as a job hopper. Being hired for several temp jobs shows you have a lot of desirable skills and that you work well in challenging situations; changing permanent jobs frequently shows a lack of commitment and indicates a poor hiring choice.
While it’s true that some employers might wonder why there are no temporary to permanent jobs listed on your resume, you can plan for this by sharpening your interview skills, cultivating professional references, and emphasizing how the traits that have made you the ideal temp — a flexible, positive attitude and the aptitude to learn quickly, for example — can also translate beautifully into permanent placement. Ultimately, your resume is just one piece of what makes you a desirable candidate. How you spin those experiences and learn from them matters a lot, too.
Of course, many workers hope to find temporary to permanent jobs — or permanent placement from the start — with an incredible company. But there’s absolutely no shame in taking a temp job (or several!) that’s a great fit for you. Not only will temporary placement actually improve your resume by providing pertinent experience and industry connections, but you’ll likely gain a number of new skills that will make you even more attractive to potential employers.